Study finds fatal heart attacks more likely on a specific day of week

A new study has suggested that people are 13% more likely to suffer from fatal heart attacks on Mondays rather than on any other day.

Data from 10,528 patients across Ireland was analysed by the doctors at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the Royal College of Surgeons.

The data was about the patients who were hospitalised between 2013 and 2018 and suffered a severe type of heart attack — an ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) which occurs when a major coronary artery is blocked.

The researchers found a surge in STEMI heart attacks at the start of the working week, with rates highest on a Monday.

According to the results presented at the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) conference in Manchester, there were also higher than expected rates on a Sunday.

The researchers have not been able to reveal more about this phenomenon.

Earlier researchers have found that cardiac arrests are more likely to occur on a Monday underlining the link of circadian rhythm – the body’s sleep or wake cycle.

British Heart Foundation (BHF) noted that there are more than 30,000 hospital admissions due to STEMI each year in the UK.

In this condition, emergency treatment is necessary to prevent heart damage which is done via angioplasty — which is a process of reopening the coronary artery.

The lead researcher and Cardiologist Dr Jack Laffan, at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, said: “We’ve found a strong statistical correlation between the start of the working week and the incidence of STEMI.”

“This has been described before but remains a curiosity. The cause is likely multifactorial, however, based on what we know from previous studies, it is reasonable to presume a circadian element.”

“Someone is admitted to hospital due to a life-threatening heart attack every five minutes in the UK, so it’s vital that research continues to shed light on how and why heart attacks happen,” said Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the BHF,

“This study adds to evidence around the timing of particularly serious heart attacks, but we now need to unpick what it is about certain days of the week that makes them more likely.”

“Doing so could help doctors better understand this deadly condition so we can save more lives in future.”

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